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Research

Broadly, we are interested in how complex microbial communities (lovingly referred to as "Ecological Dark Matter") influence and are influenced by anthropogenic activities.

The goal of our work is to understand how we can use microbial interactions to improve human sustainability and limit ecocide.

 

So far our research has been focused on how human activities may have disrupted plant-microbiome association and soil microbial communities. We want to push human systems to act symbiotically with our earth and think microbes are a critical part of this!

We are particularly interested in understanding the functions of the belowground bacteriome and archaeome that play a direct role in the cycling of nitrogen, carbon, and water. 

Our research broadly addresses the need to improve understanding of:  

1. Plant genetic and mechanistic understanding of rhizosphere microbiome recruitment 

2. Emergent ecosystem cycling consequences of plant-microbiome interactions

3. Incorporation of soil microbial ecology understanding in agriculture to improve sustainability and reliance in the face of global change

4. Characterize microbial trade-offs that potentially hinder harnessing of the soil microbiome

To address these questions we use a combination of multi-omic interdisciplinary approaches that span microbiology, plant genetics, modeling, and ecosystem ecology. We hope that this expanded tool kit will allow us to translate plant-microbiome interactions at ecologically important interfaces.

 

The tool kit developed in the lab will be microbiome amplicon sequencing, metagenomic sequences, transcriptomics, metabolomics, enzyme assays, plant genetics, culturing, and GHGs gas chromotography. 

MicrobiomeAssembly.tiff

The primary goal of the lab is to generate knowledge to improve how we select for plant varieties, soil microbial communities, and agricultural management practices. We want to incorporate mechanistic insights into microbial ecosystems to achieve and develop solutions that improve symbiosis with the plant (i.e. functional sustainability). 

For specific research products please check out the publication tab. 

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